A Lesson in Poker Etiquette
By the PokerStrategyKing
Have you ever found yourself sitting at a game and found yourselffeeling uncomfortable by the actions or words of your opponents?Have you ever actually seen real conflicts caused by these antics?Are you ever the reason for this air of discomfort? If so, todayíscolumn focuses on how players should behave and behavior thatshould be avoided during play. The same theories apply whetherit is a live game or online.
A game of online poker means you're playing with real peoplearound the world, and that means just like any social situation,there's some etiquette you should really follow as a common courtesyto other players to ensure the games go smoothly.
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Here are some general rules you shouldfollow:
Donít use foul language. I see this all the time.Most rooms have software built in that doesnít display curse wordsbut people have found creative ways around it. If you get beat,deal with it. If you catch someone bluffing, deal with that too.Itís poker and getting beat and bluffing are parts of the game.If you canít handle the swings, then you shouldnít be playing.Just use discretion and donít be disrespectful.
Don't Talk About A Hand While It's In Progress.Poker is a game where information is of the utmost importance.If a hand is over, fine, talk all you want, but if you fold especially,you shouldn't be using any chat features to tell players whatyou had in your hand, it's information the active players shouldn'thave. So what if you folded your pair of 8ís. The guy playinghis hand looking for an 8 may drop out and youíd be taking moneyout of someoneís pocket. There's no reason to ever speak aboutyour hand while a round is in play.
Try Not To Slow The Game Down. There's usuallya time limit in place for each player to take their action oneach turn, but these timers can be anywhere from 30-60 secondsper player - which, with an 8 player game and multiple roundswould take a long time. These timers are put there as a courtesyto both you and the other players; for you - if your Internetconnection becomes temporarily impaired you can often avoid missingyour turn. For others, they don't have to wait 10 minutes forplayers that like to think about it a little too much.
In fact, most poker rooms allow you to make yourdecision for the round before the decision even gets to you. Ifyou know you're going to check or fold, click check or fold andyou'll automatically check if you can or fold if a bet is made.When everyone does this a round can take only seconds insteadof minutes, and everyone is generally happier with the smootherplay.
Be patient. If playing poker online and a guyis taking forever to make a move and it's a first time thing,let it go. Good chance he's having connection problems which willeventually happen to you one day as well.
Avoid collusion. Online poker rooms have securitystaff watching for irregular play at the tables and/or suspiciousactivity. Keep all chat between other players in English and don'tdiscuss hands while they are being played. Remember, act the sameway you want to be acted upon.
Avoid vulgar usernames when playing at an onlinepoker room. Act like an adult, don't do it. This doesn't meandon't select one thats not intimidating, it means don't selectone thats offensive. Wicked Will is acceptable. Big Wanker isnot.
In a live game, the rules are generally the samebut with some variation. As a general rule of thumb it could besaid that you should act the way you'd like to be treated andnot cause problems at the table. Listed below, you'll find a listof things one should seriously consider when playing poker versusothers at a table.
Stay Sober. Nothing is worse than a drunk atthe table, except perhaps a belligerent drunk. Others should nothave to put up with intoxicated behavior at the table. If youcanít handle your drinking save it for after the game.
Be kind to others and donít get nasty with otherplayers including the dealer. Neither is tolerable or allowed.If you bend the rules too much, you will likely be escorted out.Why do that?
Donít consistently play slowly. It can be a greatstrategy because it surely takes people out of their game butI recommend against abusing this. Acting slowly repeatedly willonly turn more and more people against you. It can be a greatstrategy for those with no conscience, but on the flip side youmay end up finding yourself sitting at a table that everybodyhas gotten up and walked away leaving you sitting there by yourself.Keep this tactic for online play if at all.
Watch your language. As I stated before, keepingcurse words and foul language to a minimum is highly recommended.As a rule of thumb, don't do or say anything that wouldn't makeyour mother proud.
Wait your turn. If you want to fold, call, orwhatever, wait until it's your turn. I shouldnít even need toexplain this further.
Donít splash the pot. This is very rude and makesit hard for everybody to figure out what you bet. It take's literallyno effort to stack your chips neatly which is much more appreciatedby all.
Donít offer advice to other players sitting atthe table. This creates tensions that run high because it affectsother players hands. This isnít a seminar, itís a poker game,remember that.
Don't leave the table to avoid blinds. This isjust not cool and you'll get kicked out faster than your headcan spin if your figured out to be doing this. Just play fair.
Win and lose with dignity. Don't gloat when youwin a hand. Gain the respect of others by acting like you've beenthere. Also, making fun of others is horrendous. No one at thetable respects people who behave like this. When you lose, doso gracefully. Losing happens regardless of how good you are andbad beats happen. Don't swear or throw cards if you lose. Evenif youíre not a pro, try to act like one.
We hope that you'll exercise the poker etiquettelisted above and play your role in keeping poker the most respectablesector of gambling.
Until next time, may the chips fall your way.
(For more poker strategy and tips, please visitthe PokerStrategyKingís website at www.pokerstrategyking.com)